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Rottweil Xpress / April 1991
Bringing a puppy into your life is a major commitment. Many changes may be necessary and many questions need to be asked and answered. But if it is a new experience for you, you may not know which questions to ask first! So, let’s try to answer a few…
First, let’s talk about actually picking up the pup. If you are getting your new puppy from its breeder, look and see where he was living and the environment he was used to. Note what kind of toys he played with – possibly the breeder will let you have one – so when you get him home he will play with the object he enjoys and recognizes, rather than your expensive shoes and furniture! Definitely do not let him run around the house unsupervised – almost without fail he will get into the things you love the most.
Have a crate or kennel ready for him to call “home”. If he is to live in the -house, it is very important for him to have his own “room” – a small flight kennel or metal enclosure is ideal. You can take him out to play when you desire and when it is time to nap he has his crate and his own little world to go back to. This is also instrumental in potty training your new pup – more about that in a future article. As time goes by you will find the puppy going into his crate by choice to rest – it will become a very secure place – for him.
If you pick the puppy up at the airport, make sure you take some necessities along with you. The first thing you want to remember is that the trip was a long and new – perhaps unsettling -experience for the pup. Be prepared – in his excitement the puppy may have soiled his crate and you will need to clean him up as quickly and easily as possible, for his comfort as much as your own. Have water for him to drink as soon as he gets off the plane for cargo areas are very dry. If he has not soiled the crate it is very likely he will have to go the bathroom almost immediately. Search out a likely and suitable location for this task in accordance with all property rules and regulations, and try to find a clean grassy area in which no other dogs have recently been exercised. But most of all, get him out of the kennel and hug him – after the traumatic experience of leaving mother, brothers and sisters and hurtling through the air in a plane, he will most want the comfort of a human being to bring him back to earth.
Eating can be a problem for a pup in a new home. If you picked him up from a breeder you will know what diet he’s been used to – you may also be able to pick up food for the first couple of days – it is wise to maintain the same diet through this transition period. (His brain will have a lot of adjusting to do – don’t make his stomach do the same.) In any case, find out from the breeder what kind of food and how it has been served – dry, mixed with water, topped with canned food, etc. – up to now. If you want to change his diet – fine, but do it gradually. Slowly mix the food he has been eating with the new food he will be eating – this way it is not such a drastic change.
The first night is very important in your pup’s adaptation to his new home. When it is time for you and the puppy to go to sleep it would be advisable to for him to be in the little kennel he will soon call home. You might want to have him close by your bed but this might not be the greatest idea for your sake – he might keep you up all night. Here’s an idea -have him with you while you are watching television or reading a book just before going to sleep and when it is time to go to bed simply put him into his kennel. He might cry for a while but he will soon get used to it. This will immediately establish the pattern by which you will both live for many years. And – after his long trip and acclimation to new surroundings – he will probably be very tired and will drop right off to sleep. You hope.
Remember that the puppy is just like a new baby – when he wakes up he will need to potty, and also after he eats. Take him out to go to the bathroom in each instance, thereby increasing housebreaking ease. (Do take this opportunity to do your own stool check – make sure it is firm, free of worms and note anything that looks strange to the eye. It is the responsibility of the breeder to make sure the puppy is healthy but it never hurts to check. A slightly loose stool is not unusual after his ordeal but don’t overlook any danger signals. Better safe than sorry.)
A responsible breeder will be at your disposal in case you have questions. Find a vet familiar with Rottweilers – and Rottweiler puppies – to answer the many questions you may have. But above all – do not think you are being a nuisance to anybody if you have questions – Ask! Of utmost importance is a healthy, happy puppy and his easy adjustment to his new life. He’s going to be with you for a long time, but your first hours are important. Make your first moments count.
Until next month, rrrrrrrring!
Rottweil Xpress / February 1991
There are many factors that affect the temperament of young pups, but most important are health, heredity and environment. A happy, healthy pup with a good genetic background and a knowledgeable owner is what we all strive for. I see in dog magazines where breeders advertise “Our puppies are hand-raised in our home.” This is definitely an asset towards the puppies’ development, but if the parents don’t have stable temperaments and high courage you usually cannot expect the puppies to have it.
In Germany they have the ZTP which is the Breed Test which a dog must pass before it is allowed to be used for breeding. In America, some clubs are now offering this test. Not only is the conformation evaluated, but the temperament and courage are tested as well. Here in America, we still do not require these tests prior to breeding and registration – at the moment the registry organizations don’t really enforce much of anything as far as breeding suitability. Many Clubs have standards which are suggested as far as conformation, temperament, and hip ratings, but they are not strongly enforced. So now it is up to you as the potential buyer of a puppy to do your research.
Here are some suggestions to help you make your final decision:
1. Study the parents’ bloodlines. Make sure they have some kind of breed test, Schutzhund or Obedience titles. In America there is a standard all-breed test which is performed by the American Temperament Test Society. When a dog passes this test it receives a TT title. It is still not as advanced as the Ztp or the Korung in Germany but it is definitely a step in the right direction.
2. It at all possible, get to meet the parents of the puppy. They should be stable around people but yet they must have the temperament to work, and protect the family. It is good to have the parents of the puppy be friendly, but don’t let them fool you. A friendly dog must also have the temperament and the intelligence it takes to fulfill its duty as a Rottweiler. The parents must have high courage and working ability.
3. See how the pups are raised. If possible, try to view the whelping or puppy room. If it is clean, bright, and organized, it is a good indication that the pups are being raised well. If not, you might start to wonder; a dirty environment promotes diseases which might not allow the pup to develop to its potential.
4. The mother should look and be healthy. She should be fed a healthy diet, and given a wide variety of foods. Many people tell me that their females pose coat or coloring when they have puppies. In my experience, this need not be the case if the dam is receiving adequate nutrition In turn, if the mother looks good, the pups will look good – the puppies depend on the mother for proper nutrition. Some commercial dog foods may not have enough nutrition for mother and pups. We cook special foods and give extra supplements – this way the mother and the puppies are in good condition throughout the whole weaning process.
5. Check the medical records. Make sure the breeder understands the proper schedule for vaccinations and worming, and does not expose the puppies to the outside world until they are properly vaccinated.
6. Determine the breeding program plan. Make sure the breeder properly researched the pedigree, genetics, and phenotype of the two parents. Ask many questions as to why they decided to breed the two dogs. Ask the breeder what each parent has to contribute to the puppies to make them as good – if not better – than the parents.
7. Try for an evaluation of the parents. Ask the breeder for an honest and objective critique of the sire and dam. Remember – there is no perfect dog: they all have their faults. The breeder must choose a sire and dam whose phenotype (physical attributes) and genotype (genetic make-up) most greatly complement each other. Most breeders will happily tell you why.
8. Do a little temperament test. Perform little tests to determine the temperament of the pups. There are many books on the market and theories as to the process for testing the temperament of the puppy. Make sure the puppy is not shy of people. Check the playfulness of the puppy, and its reaction to different sounds, toys, and other objects. Observe how the pup plays with its littermates, and note which is the most outgoing puppy.
9. Evaluate the conformation. Check the conformation of the puppies; the stance, topline, head type, ear set, feet position, bite, eye color, shape, etcetera. Many of the attributes that will be there at maturity are apparent in the young puppy.
The most important thing of all is this: Get to know and trust your breeder. A conscientious breeder is the best bet for success with your pup. The breeder should have a good reputation, and stand behind contracts and agreements. Everybody has a detractor: listen to as many opinions as you can, but use your own good judgment as to what to believe.
Remember – your puppy will be with you for many years, so take your time in choosing. Be patient and make the right choice.
Good luck with your new pup! Until next month, rrrrrrrring!
Article Written by Evie Lynn
Rottweil Xpress / August 1990
First, don’t panic! Dogs are not machines and you cannot simply push a button to start the birthing process. Secondly, although the gestation period of nine weeks is well known, I know very few bitches who can count up to 63!
A wise thing to do before this point is to make sure the female is actually pregnant. At about 25 days after breeding we take our females to the vet to be palpated. The vet is able to feel the small, marble-like string of puppies in the uterus. (Not every vet is capable of doing this and you must find one that has had experience.) Do not try to palpate the bitch yourself; if not done properly you could inflict damage on the whelps. In our area, which has a very large number of veterinarians, only one is capable of successfully palpating a bitch.
At about 50 days the bones calcify; at this point the bitch can be X-rayed and the puppies will show up. This will not only assure you of the pregnancy, but will also give you a good idea of the number of pups to expect. If you have done the above and are positive you have a real pregnancy on your hands, you will now be ready to play the waiting game.
Make sure the whelping box is in a quite place, and that it is large enough for the female to stretch out and be comfortable. It is important to keep a close watch on the mother-to-be. She will behave differently when people are around or when n room. If you are able to watch her without her knowing you are doing so, you will get a true picture of what is going on. We use a two-way mirror for this purpose, and it works very well.
The first indication of impending birth is uterine contraction, or labor pains. These contractions are not always visible and may go unnoticed, so keep a sharp eye on her. This stage can continue for up to twelve hours. She may become restless and nervous; she may shiver and pant, pace a lot and even vomit. But barring complications you can soon expect a pup to appear. (For the purposes of this article I refer to a simple whelping; not all of them are!)
In a normal birth the pup will appear head first, still enveloped in the ‘birth sack’. Contractions will force the puppy out of the birth canal, followed by the umbilical cord. If the female does not break the sack, you must do so, as the oxygen supply to the pup is now cut off. Remove the puppy from the ‘sack’, and make sure the puppy is breathing and that all the mucous is cleared from the pup’s mouth and nose. Once you are assured that the air passages are clear and the pup is breathing on its own, you can allow mother to clean the pup and give it its first meal.
Different mothers deliver in different positions. She may lay on her side to give birth; she may move around and she may deliver in a squatting position. Let her do what is most comfortable for her. Don’t do anything to make her uneasy and definitely keep her as quiet as possible.
Again, barring complications, she should deliver a pup once every 15 to 60 minutes. If more than an hour passes in between pups, you may be facing trouble. This is when you consult a veterinarian. Do remember that veterinarians are not breeders and not all are familiar with each and every breed. The veterinarian you choose should be open-minded and be willing to listen to other veterinarians and breeders. The most reliable people from whom to collect information are consistent breeders who monitor and whelpings.
After every puppy is delivered we usually have an X-ray taken to make sure the bitch has passed all the placenta and that there are no more puppies left. She is given an oxytocin shot, an antibiotic douche to prevent any vaginal infection, and is put on antibiotics as routine precaution.
Always remember that the mother needs to be watched and cared for just as much as the newborn pups.
Until next month, rrrrrrrring!
Article Written by Evie Lynn
Rottweil Xpress / September 1991
Many new puppy owners have questions about how best to prepare to bring home their new family member.
The first thing a new owner should realize is that the new puppy is very fragile – it’s almost like bringing home a new human baby. The puppy is now being exposed to a new environment and a new way of life. Therefore he is under a great deal of stress. When the stress level is up the immune level is decreased which means he is more susceptible to infections and diseases. Therefore, keeping the stress level to a minimum is of utmost importance.
Most new owners want to bathe the new puppy the first day he arrives. This is another form of unnecessary stress. It is recommended not to bathe the puppy until about one week after he has settled in. If the puppy is soiled from a flight a slight cleaning with a damp wash cloth is sufficient. You can make him smell cleaner by applying a little baby powder.
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Rottweil Xpress / May 1990
As far as brucellosis testing, if the bitch has not been bred to another male, chances are brucella cannot be contracted any other way.
Cultures are definitely a must. Many people wait until their bitch is in heat before they do a culture – a mistake, in some cases, for to receive the results from the lab can take quite a few days and if the bitch registered an infection, chances are it could not be cleared up by the time she is ready to be bred.
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Rottweil Xpress / April 1990
That sounded very similar to what I had gone through in the past, until a woman came to visit us with a bitch to breed. She stayed at our house for a few days and every day she watched me run from room to room in the house cleaning up after the puppies in the whelping box. She continued to tell me about a facility she designed for whelping her puppies. Of course, with my stubbornness I continued to run from room to room in our house cleaning up after each litter. I knew there had to be an easier way.. .maybe her system would work.
Sometime later I called her up and asked her about the whelping box she had described to me. It was designed with hinges so it could fold up and be stored when not in use. The whelping box was basically divided into two parts with an opening between the two. The first part is designed for her to whelp her puppies comfortably; as they would get older they would crawl through the hole and go potty on the other side.
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